February 10th, 2014
05:26 AM ET
9 years ago

Documents reveal Hillary Clinton’s private reaction to her husband's cheating scandal with Monica Lewinsky

Updated 4:10 p.m. ET, 2/10/2014

Washington (CNN) – Hillary Clinton told a close friend that Monica Lewinsky was a "narcissistic loony toon," and also discussed in detail why she decided to forgive her husband for having an affair with the White House intern, according to documents penned by Diane Blair, a close friend and longtime confidant to the former first lady.

The contents of the documents, which are part of Blair’s papers housed at the University of Arkansas, were first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website that posted the story late on Sunday night.

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CNN has confirmed the documents are authentic and has reached out to a spokesman for Hillary Clinton, who has not responded.

Read the documents

Blair’s writings are made up of notes and diary entries based on communication the former political science professor who died in 2000 had with Mrs. Clinton.

“It was a lapse, but she says to his credit he tried to break it off, tried to pull away, tried to manage someone who was clearly a 'narcissistic loony toon'; but it was beyond control," Blair wrote about a conversation she had with Clinton on September 9, 1998, during the height of the Lewinsky scandal that led to her husband’s impeachment.

Blair went on to write that Hillary Clinton had suggested her husband had made the mistake with Lewinsky because of the personal toll the deaths of his mother, her father, and their friend Vince Foster had taken on him while "the ugly forces started making up hateful things about them, pounding on them."

The story comes as speculation heats up that the former New York senator and secretary of state is weighing a second run for the White House.

The Blair papers were not made public until 2010, well after Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008.

And the details come as Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 GOP White House contender, continues to call the Lewinsky scandal a liability for Democrats.

Some Democrats pushed back, saying the documents don't reveal anything more about Hillary Clinton's feelings about the controversy than what she wrote in her memoir, "Living History."

Clinton described herself as "dumbfounded, heartbroken and outraged" when her husband told her about his relations with Lewinsky.

"Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at him," she wrote. "'What do you mean? What are you saying? Why did you lie to me?'"

Democrats argue the passages from her own book are more powerful because they come directly from her.

Where is Monica Lewinsky?

The Clinton-Lewisnky affair captivated the nation’s attention as the sordid details became international news. The relationship and grand jury investigation led the House to impeach Clinton on two charges in December 1998. In February 1999, the Senate acquitted him.

Just days after Clinton’s impeachment, Blair wrote that Hillary called her, and they had a lengthy conversation about impeachment.

“She sounded very up, almost jolly,” writes Blair. “Told me how she and Bill and Chelsea had been to church, to a Chinese restaurant, to a Shakespeare play, greeted everywhere with wild applause and cheers.”

She added, “This, she said, is what drives their adversaries totally nut(s), that they don't bend, do not appear to be suffering.”

According to Blair, Clinton said that “most people in this town have no pain threshold.”

Blair’s writings also show Hillary Clinton sought to downplay the relationship between her husband and Lewisnky.

“HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within any real meaning… of the term,” Blair wrote.

In addition to Hillary Clinton's private thoughts on the Lewinsky matter, Blair's writing talks about Clinton's support for a single payer health care system, as well as her thoughts on foreign policy, among other subjects.

According to notes about a dinner Blair had with the first couple on February 23, 1993, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton talked “at length about the complexities of healthcare,” with the first lady saying stating “managed competition a crock, single payer necessary; maybe add to Medicare.”

Hillary Clinton was the face of the White House’s unsuccessful 1993 push on health care reform and healthcare comes up throughout the Blair notes.

Clinton’s admission that “single payer necessary” contrasts what she has sad in the past. In a 2008 interview with the New York Times, Clinton said, “You know, I have thought about this, as you might guess, for 15 years and I never seriously considered a single-payer system.”

Blair, a political science professor from Arkansas, joined Gov. Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign as a senior researcher and worked as a senior adviser on his successful 1996 reelection bid. She became a close friend to both Clintons, but particularly the first lady.

She died in 2000 at the age of 61. At the time, The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton eulogized Blair as “the best person that one could have as a friend.”

The documents portray Blair’s relationship with Clinton as both professional and personal. While they appeared to talk extensively about policy and politics, they also discussed books, travel and family.

The Blair documents were donated by her husband, James, in 2005. The documents were processed and completed by 2010 and contain 109 boxes of information that range from Blair’s professional materials to her correspondence with the Clintons.

If Clinton runs in 2016, what will Biden do?

James once helped Hillary Clinton make $100,000 in commodity futures trading, which drew scrutiny for its timing.

According to the Free Beacon, Hillary Clinton was a supporter of making the Blair records public in 2010.

“With this collection, [Diane Blair’s] contributions will grow and live on, enlarging our understanding of history, politics and culture,” Hillary Clinton reportedly said, according to the Free Beacon. "I hope also that some young scholar will come along and write the story of Diane.

The Washington Free Beacon reporter who first poured through the documents didn't think she'd find all that much to write about.

"I went down to Arkansas. I honestly didn't think that there would be much there, because I feel like so much of the Clintons, especially the 1990's related stuff, has been so picked over by reporters. But yeah, I went down and surprisingly there were some interesting things there," Alana Goodman told CNN's Brooke Baldwin in an interview on CNN Newsroom.

Moment of tension between Bill and Hillary Clinton

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (955 Responses)
  1. aspblom

    Is Monica an Albanian secret agent?

    February 10, 2014 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  2. rosey

    Is that supposed to be wrong that she said it? I think my take away is: HIllary doesn't swear.

    February 10, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  3. tm1946

    For a driven woman, that had to be tough. Sure she is over it, bet he is. Now we look forward, is she the woman/person to lead the country for at least 4 years? Not my choice because her vision is not mine. Also, age and health but at least she will be rested, no real opponent in primaries or general election.

    Only, who wants to be president anyway, they seem to age badly, who need the aggravation.

    February 10, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  4. blakenaustin

    Why is this headline news CNN? Try news reporting for a change.

    February 10, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Nunya

    "What is she supposed to call a "woman" who nearly broke up her family?"

    I don't know. How about victim of a man with a long track record of using his position of power for inappropriate relationships with women.

    February 10, 2014 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. Kelly

    you guys beat me to the punch, So what? I'm sure there is a lot of other stuff out in the world that could use some reporting to make people aware of. I think this should be categorized as dug up drama of the past

    February 10, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. southerngent

    Wow! The liberal hate for women is unreal!
    Answer each question below! I know the Office of the President doesn't mean much to a liberal anymore but to this conservative, it deserves respect. What you libs give the presidency is irreverence.

    February 10, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  8. zizwe

    why is this news?

    February 10, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  9. Srini

    Really, CNN? This is the big, bold lettered top story on your website? what are you now, a tabloid??

    There are many things happening this world that means something to most people. Get your head out of artificial sensationalism gutter and do something useful, which you can be proud of.

    February 10, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  10. grumblesfromthegrave

    Oh, and....all those who discount the "news" value of this story.....you need to take a HARD LOOK at your OWN judgment.

    After all, what do you think the responsibility of the President is, if not to be the one who makes the tough judgment calls, whose character we all must trust with our very lives, to be right and DO right in the hard places.

    Seriously, is THIS the kind of judgments you think are the right ones for a President to make?

    As MLK famously said, we need to judge people by the content of their character – and this story says so VERY much about the lack of content in Hillary's character.

    February 10, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. I R Amazed

    "Bill was never impeached, as this article states... impeachment proceedings were begun, but he was never impeached; he served two full terms."

    Bill was indeed impeached by the House. He was NOT convicted by the Senate.
    By the transitive rules of Zimmermann v The People of Florida that conservatives constantly point to, he is innocent.
    By the actual letter of the law, he was indicted but was found not guilty.

    February 10, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. maestra888

    Both Clintons continue to be an embarrassment to this country. And Hillary is responsible for the deaths of the Americans killed in the Benghazi raid. Anyone who votes for her for any office whatsoever is a traitor and a complete imbecile.

    February 10, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  13. wat

    I can think of a lot of reasons I wouldn't vote for Hillary, but something that happened in the 1990s and involved her husband and only peripherally she herself, is not very high on that list.

    Everyone already knows she's "ruthless" and everyone already knows if you get on her bad side she'd have you fired or killed without remorse- we don't need this to tell us this fact.

    February 10, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. joejeffrey

    Comments on this story from the Right make clear that what really frosts them is that Hillary is smart and tells it like it is. Lewinsky was exactly as Hillary described her (which doesn't make Bill any less of a jerk for thinking with his little head). No wonder they've got their panties in bunch - they're terrified!

    February 10, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "You can't say only one side is waging a "War on Women" with their policy while the other side is ignoring the collateral damage actually being inflicted by their leaders to their supposed cause."

    Seriouly?! You want to compare this with wage fairness and other woman's issues? The GOP will lose that battle.

    February 10, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. stupify

    No more Clintons. Not now, not ever. America deserves better than the Clinton's.

    February 10, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I believe the correct spelling is tune.Also, what is the point of this "article?" Is this another puerile attempt to discredit Sec. Clinton, or is just proving the point of the next article?

    February 10, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. simplyput

    Like most of the dims here screaming "ancient history," or "irrelevant", or "get some real news," CNN is actually doing its job for a change. Most of you are too young to remember the Clinton mob. Monica Lewinski is the least of their worries; I'll bet Hillary knows where all the bodies are, too. My handle has been stolen by "simply put", so this will be my last post. Stand by your man/mob.

    February 10, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  19. Mo

    Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a likely 2016 GOP White House contender, continues to call the Lewinsky scandal a liability for Democrats.

    What does this have to do with any Democrat other than Bill Clinton? Holding it over his wife's head is victim shaming.It was a painful experience for her and she has every right to insult the woman who cheated with her husband. How many female voters does the GOP want to lose? They do everything they can do insult women.

    February 10, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. gregg

    More CNN double standards

    February 10, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. DRufusOnfyre

    By all accounts, looney tune sounds like a fair description of Lewinsky at that time. Where is the news in this story?

    February 10, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  22. Will D

    Can you blame her? Monica was the other woman...and if "looney tunes" was what she called her Monica got off easy lol

    A lot of women would be out for blood if their hubby cheated..I don't agree with most of Hills politics but it does mean something she forgave him and decided to stick it out with Bill.

    February 10, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  23. Rebah

    I am a Republican and don't want to go there. Stick with the issues and let her run on her record not his philandering. We will not elect the next president with smear campaigns and tabloid tidbits. We need to keep the media from stoking political fires because they are incapable and fearful of addressing real issues. Leave the politics to the politicians. Try reporting the news and not making it. Your lack of integrity creates the monsters that get press. Most of us don't want to hear this kind of garbage. We want jobs, security, and a sense of pride that is sorely lacking in our government and the people who "report" it.

    February 10, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. texasnotea

    When republican wives catch their husbands cheating, they send the other woman a thank you note

    February 10, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. sly

    President Clinton: 60% approval rating the highest since 1949.

    TeaKlan is afraid of the next President Clinton, and her popularity will likely exceed 70%.

    These are good times for America. Progressive President's are leading America out of the mud that Bush slopped us into.

    February 10, 2014 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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